You Impress Me

I regularly receive comments from you — our viewers – with suggestions for shows you’d like to see on KIKU. Your level of knowledge about Japanese programs, actors, music, and/or other details never fails to impress me.

Many times, the programs you suggest are programs already under negotiation for future airing on KIKU. But sometimes, you inform us about new programs we were not aware of or had not considered yet. That amazes me.

We appreciate your knowledge of Japanese programs and your suggestions. Thank you.

Ja, ne!

Letter to Mom in Heaven

In January this year, we aired a special titled “Letter to Mom in Heaven” as part of our New Year’s week of specials. If you didn’t see it in January (or even if you did), you’ll have a chance to see it this Wednesday when we air it in place of Mystery Theatre. It’s a very bittersweet story about a family trying to heal itself after the death of the wife and mother.

The husband, Haruki Mizunuma, is a workaholic who focused all his energy on his career, leaving the raising of his young son to his wife, Kyoko. But after Kyoko passes away, Haruki is faced with raising his son alone. This is even more difficult when his son Ren becomes despondent and loses the will to live.

At the one year anniversary of Kyoko’s death, Haruki and Ren travel to Kyoko’s hometown to visit her father. But Haruki has another motive for the visit. He wants to search for the meaning behind the “tree of happiness” Kyoko wrote about in her diary.

Ja, ne!


Autumn Specials

Can you believe it? It’s already September!

Which means…it’s time for our Autumn (September) specials!!!

This year, our specials are airing the week of September 14. If you’re a long-time KIKU viewer who followed Making It Through throughout all 20 seasons, you’ll be excited to learn there is a new 2015 special. We will be airing the four hour special on two nights: Monday, 9/14, and Sunday, 9/20. A lot has happened to the Okakura family since the last special. Some sad news, some happy news, and, as usual, many things for the sisters to deal with and figure out.

On Wednesday, 9/16, which is usually our Mystery Theatre night, we are airing a Seichi Matsumoto special, Black Gospel. Matsumoto’s signature style is intrigue, and Black Gospel will not disappoint. It is about a crime that takes place in 1959, a time following the war when Japanese were very sensitive about how foreigners in their country were treated, so as not to create international problems. When a young foreign priest is suspected in the murder of a young woman, detectives must handle the investigation with great sensitivity. And this becomes a greater problem when their investigations uncover shadowy business dealings behind the church.

Our Thursday special is Pro Bono, about a young woman seeking revenge against an attorney who refused to defend her younger brother, who was wrongly accused of a crime. When her brother is sentenced to life and dies in prison, the young woman, Kiriko, is determined to avenge the injustice done to her brother.

Friday, 9/18, we have a Mission to Kill special. We aired a Mission to Kill special last year, and this program is a continuation of that special, in which four professional assassins are hired by victims of crimes seeking revenge.

If you love animals, you’ll love our Saturday special, Kinako’s Challenge. It is a documentary about a police dog named Kinako who just could not pass her dog exams, and the trainer who never gave up on her.

Following Kinako, is a special starring our popular “fat detective” Hidehiko Ishizuka, and another fat guy, Sumo Master Furiwake. The two travel to Odawara and Hakone playing an eating game. The winner gets to eat to his heart’s content, while the loser is left with an empty stomach.

Please tune in for our September specials!

Ja, ne!



My Prince

We have a new drama starting next Friday, 8/28, at 8pm. It is titled My Prince (real Japanese title is Hakuba no Ouji-sama Junai Tekireiki).

This drama is about a single schoolteacher named Takako Hara. At 32 years of age, and with multiple failed relationships in her past and no serious boyfriend in her present life, Takako assumes she will probably be alone the rest of her life.

Until…a teacher seven years younger than Takako joins the staff. Despite their age difference, Takako finds herself falling in love. But can he reciprocate her feelings when he is already engaged to be married?

Tune in to My Prince to find out!

Ja, ne!


A Summer of Specials


We are re-airing a number of special programs this summer. If you missed them the first time, I hope you will catch them this time.

We began a couple of Fridays ago with Sore ga Shiritai. Last night, we aired Yasu. Here is a list of the other specials we will be airing in the coming weeks:

Fri, 8/14 – 9-10pm: Big Family in a Small Village, Part 1

Wed, 8/19 – 8-10pm: The Housekeeper 2

Fri, 8/21 – 9-10pm: Big Family in a Small Village, Part 2

Wed, 8/26 – 8-9:30pm: A Pierrot Praying for the Moon

Wed, 9/2 – 8-10:30pm: Love or Duty: Samurai Rebellion

Wed, 9/9 – 8-10:30pm: Shinzanmono Special

Wed, 9/23 – 8-10pm: The Stork’s Nest

Wed, 9/30 – 8-10pm: Letter to Mom in Heaven

We will also be airing a whole week of new special programs the week of September 14. I’ll share more about these programs with you next time.

Ja, ne!


Trivia Question Follow-up

We now have the three winners to our trivia question! Congratulations to the winners for identifying these three actors appearing in shows currently airing on KIKU:

Hiroaki Murakami – in Zenigata Heiji (historical) and Love and Deceit (modern)

Mayumi Wakamura – in Hana Moyu (historical) and Love and Deceit (modern) or Investigator Mariko (modern)

Kanji Tsuda – in Hana Moyu (historical) and Behind the Noren (modern)

We also wanted to share that our viewers are more knowledgeable than us! We thought there were only three actors who qualified as answers to this trivia question, and were surprised to learn (from our viewers) that there are three more actors we hadn’t thought of! They are:

Tsuyoshi (or Takashi) Naito – in Hana Moyu (historical) and Investigator Mariko (modern)

Hirotaro Honda – Hana Moyu (historical) and The Last Policeman (modern)

Rena Tanaka - in Hana Moyu (historical) and Love and Deceit (modern)

We love that you found these actors we hadn’t thought of. Thank you for playing!

Ja, ne!

The Curtain is Closing

This Sunday (8/9), we are airing the final two episodes of Behind the Noren. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that this is just the end of the first season of the series. We will begin airing the second season of Behind the Noren early next year. And for those of you who missed this series from the beginning, we will retelevise the entire first series starting September 22nd.

Ja, ne!


Trivia Question

On KIKU, we air a combination of modern dramas and historical/samurai dramas. Since the same actors often appear in both modern and historical dramas, it’s always interesting to see an actor in a modern drama dressed in a business suit or dress, and recognize them in a historical drama with the traditional hairstyle (chonmage or nihongami) and kimono.

As a matter of fact, there are three actors/actresses appearing in both a modern and a historical drama that are currently airing on KIKU.


I have three KIKU-TV shirts to give away. The first person to name one of the actors and the two shows they appear in will receive one of the shirts. (Once that actor is named and the shirt is given away, you need to identify the next actor.) Only one shirt per person will be given away so if you know all three, don’t reveal them all. Post your answers using the Comments section.

Good luck!


Zenigata Heiji

This Tuesday night (7/21) at 9pm, we premier Zenigata Heiji! This, like the Toyama no Kinsan series we just finished airing, is a remake of an original samurai series. Does anyone remember the original Zenigata Heiji shows? The most notable actor who played Heiji was Hashizo Okawa. He played this role for 18 years (1966-1984), and I understand this earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running actor playing the same character in a one-hour series.

Despite that, many KIKU viewers associate Kinya Kitaoji as Zenigata Heiji. He played the role for seven years, from 1991-1998.

Our series remake stars Hiroaki Murakami as Zenigata Heiji. Please tune in to catch this series about a police who catches criminals by throwing coins at them.

Ja, ne!

p.s. Although you won’t see Kinya Kitaoji in this Zenigata Heiji remake, the good news is that you can see him in other shows on KIKU, including Hana Moyu, and Doctor X 3, which begins in September.


Are you familiar with the word “naruhodo”? It means “oh, I see” or “now I get it”.  The way you use naruhodo is if there is something you don’t understand, and someone explains it to you, you say…. “Ahhh, Naruhodo”.

Recently, we began airing a naruhodo segment on KIKU-TV. It features our host, JP Lam, explaining various subjects, including places, people, things, foods or traditions. One recent Naruhodo segment was about aikido. Did you know the very first dojo ever constructed outside of Japan was here in Honolulu in 1961? I’ve often passed this dojo on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki, just down the street from McDonalds, but never knew this bit of history. Ahhh, naruhodo.

If there is something you want to know about, send us an email, and we’ll have JP check it out! Then you can say “Ahhhh, naruhodo” too!

Ja, ne.